The Strawberry. Growing Strawberries. Origin. History. Types of strawberries. History

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1 Growing Strawberries By Angela Chandler The Strawberry Cultivated strawberry ranks among highest preferred fruits worldwide Small space requirement Fruits quickly after planting Reproduce easily Nutritious Vit C, ½ cup = 70% of RDA Ellagic acid, a cancer fighter Remains effective after cooking Origin Genus Fragaria Alaska, Hawaii, Chile, Central Europe, Himalayas Modern hybrids Cross between Fragaria chiloensis (Pacific Coast from Alaska to the Andes) and Fragaria virginiana (meadows from Ontario to Louisiana) History 1714: Amedee Francois Frezier, a French army officer, returned from a foreign mission with plants of the large fruited F. chiloensis he had seen fruiting in Chile Plants were crossed with F. virginiana, which had been introduced into Europe at an earlier date History Genetic improvement during the next two hundred years was relatively slow and was done primarily by private breeders Over the last eighty years, strawberry breeders have sought to increase yield and fruit size as well as incorporating resistance to diseases and insect pests Types of strawberries Two general classes Day neutral (Everbearing) Flower and produce fruit year round Stops setting buds when temps exceed 85 degrees Short day (Junebearing) Produce when days are shorter as in fall through spring Can bear 3 months from planting if temps favorable

2 Annual or perennial? Perennial grown as annual Short day types are best for Houston Plant bare root berries in late September to December (wait for weather to cool) Rooted (containerized) berries can be planted January to March Varieties Disease free at purchase Use reputable growers only Genetically disease resistant Chandler Sweet Charlie Factors affecting growth Long days and warm temperatures favor the growth of leaves and runners Short days and cool temperatures are necessary for flower formation in the short day varieties Factors affecting growth Strawberries will have more flavor when grown in areas where days are sunny and nights are cool Strawberries that grow during cool temperatures have firmer fruit than those grown during warm humid weather Temperatures of 70 to 80 during the day and 60 to 65 at night result in a ripening period of about 30 days from flowering Adding it up All of these factors make strawberries a winter crop for the Gulf Coast Therefore, managing strawberries as a winter annual will produce better results Bed preparation Raised beds (minimum of 5 6 ) Amend with compost Use organic fertilizer such as cottonseed meal No Solanacae members for three seasons (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant)

3 Bed width Single rows 6 to 12 inches wide on top Space the rows at least 28 inches apart from center to center Double rows 12 to 24 Space the rows at least 28 inches apart from center to center Wide rows 3 to 5 wide Plant spacing 8 to 14 apart in single or double rows 12 to 16 apart in wide bed planting Planting depth Planting depth Planting depth is critical Too shallow, plants dry out and die Too deep, plants rot Locate crown Area between the roots and the leaf stems Plant upper part of the crown slightly above or level with the surface Moisture Strawberry plants have shallow roots and require moisture throughout the growing season Keep soil moist but not soggy Drip irrigation is recommended Moisture is kept away from fruit minimizing fruit rot Mulches Organic mulches favor berry predators Snails, slugs, earwigs, sowbugs Pine straw is best Very rough native mulch (no compost mixed in) Weedmat

4 Using weedmat Place over soil after bed prep Cut X s in mat to plant Pin down well at crowns and bed edges One of the fewplaces weedmat can be useful Watch over runners cut slits to allow them to root into the soil Remove & discard after season ends Foliage Powdery mildew White patches on leaf, leaf edges curl up No major harm, baking soda-vinegar spray Leaf spot Red or purple blotches, fungal Fungicides Slime mold White or tan jelly-like mass No need to treat (hot, dry weather kills it) Root and crown diseases Root Rot red tips or black tips on roots spreads upward to crown Avoid compaction, improve drainage Buy inspected stock Nematodes Galls on roots, yellowing leaves, wilt Avoid following Solancae family Verticillium wilt Interveinal browning on older leaves, stunted new leaves Plant resistant stock Fruit diseases Gray Mold Velvety gray patches fruit surface Berry turns brown and remains firm with little leakage Frequent rains mulch, remove debris Rhizopus Rot Berry is discolored, somewhat brown, softens quickly Fungicides, quickly cool berries after harvest Leather Rot Young berries turn brown or dark brown while mature berries may be bleached, purple, or normal in color Flesh remains firm and tastes bitter Mulch, no contact with soil or rain splash Harvesting Harvest when ripe (fully red, no green at tip) Clip or snip stem from vine, do not bruise berry Do not use deep containers Top berries can bruise or crush bottom berries Place in shade immediately After the harvest Allow mother plants to put out runners (daughter plants) Pin the runners down close to the soil to allow them to root Runners can be transplanted to a bed in partial shade if preferred or if the bed is too sunny in July & August When ready to replant (Sept Dec), dig up and bare root the daughter plants; discard the depleted mother plants

5 After the harvest Prepare the bed by replenishing compost and fertilizer Soak the daughter transplants in a mild solution of Superthrive (3 hours to overnight) Replant This cycle can be repeated year to year, but make sure to discard the spent mother plants each new season Thank-you! Questions? Angela at This program is copyrighted by Angela Chandler All rights reserved.

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